COLUMBUS, OH-With same-store sales declining, Bob Evans Farms is slowing expansion of its namesake restaurants and taking a measured approached to growing its Mimi’s Café concept, executives said at its first quarter conference call.

Total net sales for the quarter were $403.4 million, up 2% from the same period last year. Net income was $13.1 million, up significantly from $7.2 million a year ago. But same-store sales for the quarter were down 3.9% from last year, leading to cautious growth.

“We’re not comfortable growing [the Bob Evans] model unit until we see better same-store sales and unit economics,” said Steven A. Davis, CEO.

For the full fiscal year, the company expects to open approximately 10 new Bob Evans restaurants. During the first quarter, the company opened four new Bob Evans Restaurants and closed one. Three more Bob Evans Restaurants were closed in the current quarter. Last year, the chain opened 20 new units and closed 24.

While breakfast sales remained healthy, lunch sales were flat dinner same-stores sale were down significantly. Menus are being changed and customer service improved to bring back the dinner customer, who usually has a higher check than at breakfast.

Mimi’s Café, the company’s fast casual concept, will be expanded, but carefully. The company plans to open 14 this year, its historic average. Two new restaurants were opened during the quarter.

“We do not want to grow too fast,” Davis said. The company is testing curbside pick-up at five locations, and will expand that test to another two to five units.

As a result, capital expenditures for fiscal 2007 are budgeted at about $87 million, compared with $113 million in fiscal 2006. Some of those funds could be used for an acquisition, but “that is not high on the priority list,” Davis said. Resuming its stock repurchase program also is a possibility.

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